SAN DIEGO – Six of 19 people arrested in an undercover drug sting operation at four North County high schools appeared before a judge Wednesday.
Johny Nguyen, 18; Philip Silva, 25; Ramon Kelly, 45; Edwin Sanchez, 19; Erik Johnson, 18 and Skylor McGee, 20, were arraigned in San Diego Superior Court. Each face between four and six years in prison. All pleaded not guilty.
“The basic charges include selling narcotics and possession of narcotics,” said Jorge Del Portillo, Deputy District Attorney.
The six men were arrested in the sting called Operation A-team. Over the course of a year, undercover deputies posed as high school students to catch those selling drugs.
“One arraigned sold on school grounds others sold very near campus,” said Del Portillo.
45-year old Ramon Kelly had the most serious charge. Prosecutors said undercover deputies bought prescription drugs 16 to 17 pills each time at multiple sessions from Kelly. Prosecutors said each of the defendants worked alone and were all identified by deputies in the operation.
“This guy was at home minding his own business,” said Jim Dicks, attorney.
Dicks represents Edwin Sanchez. The 20-year old was caught twice for selling marijuana to undercover deputies.
“He had a small amount and he gave her a graham. 20 bucks and that was it,” said Dicks.
The attorney maintains his client was sought by deputies and coerced to a local park to sells marijuana.
“It’s almost like inventing crimes that wouldn’t have happened if you weren’t out there hunting for this stuff,” said Dicks.
Dicks said he understands getting drugs off the streets, but feels Operation A-Team is not the way to do it.
“This is just out there asking for stuff and basically making criminals out of people who aren’t criminals,” said Dicks.
“We want drugs out of the schools and out of students hands and we’re going to do anything to accomplish that goal,” said Del Portillo.
Prosecutors told Fox 5 several juveniles were also arraigned Wednesday in Juvenile Court. More charges are expected to come in the next several days. 7 adults arrested have yet to be arraigned and charged.